the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

The Caged Bird 2010, via The Wayback Machine!

Bee ButlerComment

Since life is a little hectic right now, this week will feature some old posts from my previous version of this blog (well, TWO versions ago, honestly) back when I used TypePad and had Tracey Sweetney's beautiful design as my homepage.

First up, 20-year-old Bee's roommate guide!

interesting lessons from campus housing.

the past few years at ACU, I’ve lived in two single rooms, with a roommate in a tiny bedroom, on a communal couch in the middle of a girls hall, on the couch at my dad’s, on the couch at my mom’s, and in an apartment.

I’ve shared a bathroom with 30 girls, with one girl I’d never met before move-in, with my brother, my dad, and finally, for the last two semesters, have had MY OWN BATHROOM.

I’ve had NO kitchen, a crappy kitchen I shared with three floors of girls, my dad’s empty kitchen, my mom’s small-but-stocked-with-pampered-chef kitchen, and a wonderful little kitchen at my apartment with claire.

I’ve pared down my belongings to fit, in one trip, in my tiny four-door sedan.

In this time period I’ve realized several things, and figured that since some of my friends seem to have some sort of living situation issue (or are about to next year) I could throw a couple of things out there.

[one.] if you break something (i.e. the toilet, a lightbulb, an appliance, etc) then you either need to replace it or call maintenance. don’t leave it there for your roommate to find, and DO NOT ACT LIKE YOU DIDN’T DO IT. own up to your oops.

[two.] don’t do the awkward this-isn’t-working dance. go up to your roommate (or get your RA, AD, whoever can mediate) and let them know that you’re not comfortable or happy with your living situation. there is nothing more unbearable than wondering whether or not things are working.

worst idea ever?

tell your MUTUAL FRIENDS that you’re going to leave your roommate high and dry with nowhere to live the following year before or with no plan of telling YOUR ROOMMATE. that level of cattiness and immaturity will get you on everyone’s list, and you’ll end up with no one who can stand you enough to share a living space.

[three.] foooood. if you buy it, you eat it. if they buy it, you ask. unless you’ve mutually (and generally on more than one occasion) agreed that you’re sharing food, don’t go cabinet-rummaging when you’re hungry. most college kids buy exactly enough for a specific period of time. you eat it, they get hungry, they eat your stuff or end up hungry. don’t be a jerk. eat your own food.

[four.] RENT IS DUE WHEN RENT IS DUE. unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that allows you to pay rent separately from your roommate, make sure you’ve got your money ready at least three days ahead of your scheduled due time. don’t screw them over with the old “I get paid next week, can you front me?” excuse, or worse, tell them that you flat out can’t pay and tell them to ask their folks to help you out.

[five.] gossip. never talk crap about your roommate. TO ANYONE. I don’t care if it’s your best friend, your sorority sister, whatever else. I learned this one the haaaaaard way. what you say will get back to them and your life will SUCK.

worst idea ever?

tell your mutual friends how much your roommate sucks and how hard they were to live with. talk crap about them within earshot of someone close to them, or say awful things about a mutual friend to your roommate and expect her to keep your secret. you’ll alienate everyone and end up alone. plus, you’ll get a reputation of a smug twat that no one will be able to/want to be around.

[six.] don’t steal or go through your roommates mail. PERIOD.

[seven.] family weekend for your roommate but not for you or vice versa? stay out of the way unless specifically invited (or make it clear to your roomie that you need some family time). if you want to bring them along, go ahead. it’s important, though, that you treat your roomie with some respect and allow them family time. they might be kind of tired of you and need some time to vent to their mom or dad. they might miss home and need the chance to spend some quality time with someone they feel close to. or, they may know that you won’t get along with their parents and in not inviting you be attempting to halt an awkward situation in its tracks.

worst idea ever?


you’re a genius.

[eight.] when it comes to music and movies, its best to either live with someone with similar taste, or, if that isn’t possible, keep your media in your room and out of communal space. utilize headphones, watch/listen when they aren’t home, or make compromises so that nobody ends up hiding out in their room furiously trying to drown out sound they don’t like.

[nine.] boyfriends, girlfriends, significant others; OOPS. don’t let yours walk around semi-clothed. don’t do the whole “monopolizing communal space” thing. don’t let your bf/gf do any of the things previously discussed (eating roomie food, etc.) and make sure that they either get along or are away from each other so that there’s no drama when they leave for the night.

[ten.] do little things.

your roomate is sick? bring them soup/tea/a cookie/ a card/flowers/etc. roommate just go through a breakup? ice cream and chick flicks, pronto. have a fight? be the first to apologize. make sure you’re treating them the way you’d want to be treated, and when you screw up (as I have so many times), make sure you reconcile so that the two of you can live comfortably.

last, but not least, here are some tiny issues that can explode.

- DO YOUR DISHES, NASTY. don’t leave crap in the sink for weeks (and scrape plates and bowls before putting them in the dish washer).

- PICK UP YOUR CLOTHES/SHOES FROM COMMUNAL SPACE (your roommate is not a jerk for stepping on your tshirt if it’s been in the living room for more than three days).

- SHOWER OFTEN. they live near enough to smell you at all times. do them (and yourself) a favor and keep it clean so that no one wants to kill anyone else over your stank.


shirts, pants, jewelry, shoes. wear it, use it, clean it, give it back. take too long and you owe them an apology and you’ll lose the privilege.

hopefully this sheds some light on what you’re doing wrong or what you might potentially need to nip in the bud. the amount of fighting and ending of friendships over these issues in the past month (at least among my friends, most of whom are juniors and in their third year of doing this) has been ridiculous. check yourself before you wreck yourself and get stabbed in your sleep.

Hopefully this amused you a little. 
Check back later this week for more, and possibly an update on some design projects!